GM Thought of the Week: Toy Fair 2019 Generates Industry Optimism Despite Latest NPD Figures
If the evidence of London Toy Fair 2019 is anything to go by, 2019 will be a strong year for the Toys & Games industry. Optimism was high amidst plenty of positive retailer feedback to existing lines and new ranges. In fact, even the 2018 NPD figures demonstrated reasons for optimism amongst the backdrop of overall decline.
The market reportedly declined -12% in value compared to 2017, however this is heavily affected by the loss of TRU from the dataset. When the adjusted view is taken into account (like for like excluding TRU), the market actually grew +1%. We also have to consider that Smyths, who by most accounts had a positive 2018, are not included in the analysis.
True, we still need to tread with caution as there are plenty of businesses who remained in decline to the end of 2018. However, Toy Fair provided a showcase of new products to the industry which should provide cautious optimism. Whilst L.O.L Surprise! Will undoubtedly remain the number 1 property in the market (amassing c.£101m in 2018 sales value according to NPD), there were (as ever) plenty of collectables on show which will compete in the lower price point segments.
Most ubiquitous however was Disney licensing, with the majority of stands hosting at least one Disney franchise. Chief amongst these were of course Toy Story 4, and Frozen 2. Which will generate more revenue for the industry will be keenly debated. Toy Story surely has the broader age and gender appeal, however will the summer release count against toy sales (particularly on the higher price point lines)? Frozen 2 by contrast will be released in November of this year, with toys likely to be on shelf from October onwards. Arguably the range of product might be more limited than the potential Toy Story offers, however surely the timing will give it the advantage despite having a narrower window in which to sell.
Maybe Nuremberg will offer more clues as to how the year will pan out?